Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Teacher v. Technology

Anyone and everyone who has had a child or grandchild within the past decade knows what Baby Einstein is.

If you have watched or listened to any new within the past 24 hours, you also know about a refund that the Baby Einstein company has decided to offer in response to accusations that their products (mostly the videos) are not, in fact, educational. The experts seem to agree that no amount of time in front of any video will teach a baby as much about language, shapes, colors, animals, and human social skills as one-on-one time with parents and other caretakers.

After listening to NPR's Talk of the Nation do a 30 minute segment on this topic, I did some reflection:

How much does technology matter in my classroom?

How much to I matter?

If you are interested, listen to the NPR broadcast. It was an excellent segment and the guests got into a rather heated debate on the topic.

If you don't have time to listen, just check out the summary at

In light of a recent blog I posted about students creating websites and using the Internet databases available at our school library to complete a research project, I wonder if it is about the technology at all. Could my students have accomplished this project without having me, a human presence to answer questions and give directions, in the computer lab with them? Would a set of typed directions and instructional videos that provided the same information have done the same job?

With all of the emphasis on technology integration in education, how important is the human factor?